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A setback: Portland Timbers 3, San Jose Earthquakes 0

Quakes’ winning streak snapped as Timbers pull away.

San Jose Earthquakes v Portland Timbers Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

The San Jose Earthquakes’ three-game winning streak was snapped Sunday, as they lost 3-0 to the Portland Timbers in Portland.

The Quakes hadn’t beat the Timbers in Portland through first 12 meetings coming into Sunday, and that run extended to make it 13 in league play with San Jose winless at Providence Park. Having said that, in spite of being a loss the scoreline was not lopsided this time, and aside from a defensive breakdown and an unforced error by San Jose the Earthquakes played pretty well overall on the night.

Matias Almeyda made one change, enforced, to his starting XI for the Quakes, with Oswaldo Alanís returning at central defense for the suspended Florian Jungwirth.

San Jose had a couple good chances early, with a corner kick in the sixth minute leading to a shot by Chris Wondolowski that forced a point-blank save from Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark to keep the game scoreless.

The teams went to halftime with the game still 0-0. Both teams were game, but it was a feisty first 45, full of fouls and not a lot of good looks, the Earthquakes holding a five-to-three edge in shots on target by that point.

But the Timbers redoubled their efforts and scored in the first minute of the 2nd half, Jaroslaw Niezgoda with a cushioned header off Diego Chara’s cross to give the home side a 1-0 lead.

Portland doubled their lead in the 52nd minute. JT Marcinkowski snuffed out a chance for Diego Valeri, but he didn’t get on top of the ball, and when it squirted out, Tanner Beason passed it right to Niezgoda, who one-timed it from outside the box to score a quick brace. That one was all down to San Jose mistakes, unfortunately.

Tommy Thompson had a great look at the hour mark, with Nick Lima’s looping cross at the far post headed down by TomThom, but Clark made the save on the play.

Tanner Beason scored in the 70th minute, but it was chalked off due to an apparent offside call, so the Earthquakes were not able to cut the deficit on what would have been a great rallying point in the game with 20 minutes to play. It appears if Beason had not touched the ball, the goal would have counted, which turned out to be pretty costly.

Felipe Mora came off the bench and iced the game for the Timbers by heading in Diego Chara’s cross on the doorstep in the 86th minute to make it 3-0, San Jose’s defense falling apart on the play and leaving Marcinkowski out to dry.

All in all the defeat puts a damper on San Jose’s recent progress, but to me, it’s a “normal” loss, not one that is ringing alarm bells. I think Beason had a tough night and Jungwirth’s absence was felt, too, while the Quakes were really wasteful in attack, with several fantastic chances they couldn’t convert over the 90 minutes. If this starts another tailspin, then it’s concerning. But if San Jose can bounce back in short order, it’s part of the ups and downs of the season, and for now they remain above the playoff line in the Western Conference.

The Earthquakes are scheduled to play next on Wednesday, when they’ll take on the LA Galaxy again, this time in Carson. The Galaxy are still on a five-game losing streak, and their game at the weekend against the Colorado Rapids was postponed due to an ongoing coronavirus outbreak on the Rapids, so they’ll be well rested. Can the Quakes get another win on their Cali Clasico rival, or are they running out of gas? As always, the rivalry game will be a big one.

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